While this entire trip is a gift from my wife, kids, and self there are many things which others have given me for the journey. I can never underestimate the value of their sacrifices to make this trip possible. For the past couple of years, birthday and Christmas gifts have been materials that I need and will be using for this trip-route maps, panniers, camping supplies and more. Everyday, I use their gifts and grow in appreciation for their support for this trip. My sister, brother-in-law, and their children also gave me a gift of cycling gloves that I wear everyday. Every time I put these gloves on, I think of their support for this adventure.
An amazing, unexpected, and touching gift was presented to me at end of the TdF music festival in San Diego. After coming off stage and having interpreted for several hours and some great bands, I was cleaning up my gear backstage when the gate security guard approached me to inform me that someone wished to speak to me. There were a few people who wished to thank me for making the concert accessible and having fun doing so. One young man explained that he was from France and his parents were Deaf and he was blown away by the festival being signed and wished his parents could experience something like that there. I explained that all that I do just reflects New Belgium’s desire to be inclusive and accessible to everyone. I then was introduced to this one couple who thanks me and asked what kind of tires I had. “Odd question” I thought but answered that my touring bike used Presta values. They then presented me with Presta value caps they had made from Fat Tire bottle caps (see the above photo) They explained that they had a son who has Down Syndrome and who uses signs to communicate. They went on to say that they had seen me interpret a couple of years ago and have returned every year just to watch me and were inspired to take more classes to improve their own sign skills to communicate better with their son. While I was touched by this, I tried to explain that I just reflected NBB’s values of inclusiveness. They wished to give me a gift in return and presented me with these value caps. I proudly placed them on my bike and promised to ride across the country with them. So every time I check my tire pressure and refill the air, I reflect upon the unintended consequences of our actions. We may never know the lives we touch in various ways. Another heart warming lesson learned along my journey, I believe.
Behind the hotel at which we were staying was this public artwork. I hope that I can always take this to heart:
Elsewhere and nearby in town is this public art display that also speaks to me for this trip:
I was unable to get the entire piece in frame due to railroad tracks but here are close ups of each of the five parts: